The Elk City division of the Safari B is about three miles southeast of town. “I used to chop cotton there,” said Baker. “My dad bought that place when I was seven years old. I helped take care of it – I’m giving it to my kids now. But I worked hard growing up.” Dr. Baker received both his undergraduate degree and his M.D. from the University of Oklahoma, following which he did a twoyear residency in surgery at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. He then returned to his home town, serving his community several decades as a general practitioner. At 84 years old, he has been retired from his medical practice nearly a quarter of a century. “I just wore out,” he said. “I worked real hard – I would see a hundred patients some days. I had a lot of people that I knew all my life. I have doctored three different generations in some families. It’s an advantage, because you know the family, and you can tell their personalities. They think if you doctored grandpa, then you’re alright.” “I got to deliver triplets one time,” he exclaimed. “I got so excited – and the parents weren’t very excited because they already had children, and they had more afterwards. The other day I met with the triplets on their 50th birthday – all three of them – and Pat and I got to visit with them and take them to dinner, and I thought that was quite an honor. Triplets are quite rare, and no one had known of triplets being born in Oklahoma at that time.” “I got sick a couple of times and needed to rest. I finally got to where I wanted to do some other things, so I did.” “But I’ve had to slow down a little,” he said, “and son Rand is in charge. I’m very fortunate; I’ve got a lot of stuff wrong with me, but I take care of myself. I don’t do a lot of heavy work – I used to. I worked heavy until three or four years ago – lifting hay and all that stuff.” One of the special ways Pat and Dr. Baker served the TLBAA membership was through their creation and management of the Champagne Sales. They conducted about 20 of these classy offerings, held annually in Lawton, Oklahoma on the day following the Wildlife Refuge auctions. “We were collecting too many cattle,” said Dr. Baker, “and I needed to do something with them. I talked to Charlie Three, who was having sales of his own at the YO Ranch, and he let me put in ten cows with his cows. He started us out, then the next year, we decided we would have a sale the day after the Wildlife Refuge had their sale every year. It worked out well together – people would go to both sales.”
Left: Col. Eddie Wood, Charlie Schreiner III, Joyce Wood, L.V. Baker. Right: The Bakers hosted 20 Champagne Sales the day following the annual Wildlife Refuge auctions.
Usually over half of the cattle in each of the Champagne Sales came from the Safari B herd, but it was open for consignments from other Longhorn producers, and it proved to be a popular venue. The sales were held in the Lawton convention center which Baker turned into a sale barn through the use of portable panels brought from his ranch each year and set up for these special occasions. “It worked us about half to death but it was fun,” Baker recalls, “and the two sales didn’t disturb the other one; in fact I think it helped to have two sales together.” Looking back at pictures of the cattle from some of those early sales, Dr. Baker commented on the difference in horn growth. “Those cattle didn’t have much horn at all,” he said, “and we thought they were the biggest horns ever. I look at these, and if they ran a thirty-inch horn on a female – a thirty – three-oh – we were just beside ourselves, we thought we had the most expensive thing you could own! I just get to laughing when I think about that. But the cattle themselves were good.” “We are getting some 86-inch horns on Longhorn cattle now. I’m amazed at how big some of these horns are. It’s amazing. But they don’t look like they belong on the animal – those extremely big ones. They’re out of proportion, kind of.” “They’re making a mistake that I see every once in a while in sales – they’re making the Longhorn cattle too big. I’m opposed to that excessively large, big-boned animal. They’re just not the way the Longhorn was intended to be. And I think they’re dying out now, from what I can see.” “Two days ago, our cow Suzanna Anna – she was a cow that we loved so much. She was 21 and she had a calf at 20. She was the best cow and she was always a good producer. We took special care – she was hand-fed, but she just couldn’t make it. She finally went at 21. We were sorry to see her go. I’ve bred a lot of cattle, and I think I have probably heard of maybe three or four
Official Publication of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America